Angiogenesis, the growth of a network of blood vessels, is a crucial component of solid tumour growth, linking the relatively harmless avascular growth phase and the potentially fatal vascular growth phase. As a process, angiogenesis is a well-orchestrated sequence of events involving endothelial cell migration, proliferation; degradation of tissue; new capillary vessel (sprout) formation; loop formation (anastomosis) and, crucially, blood flow through the network. Once there is blood flow associated with the nascent network, the subsequent growth of the network evolves both temporally and spatially in response to the combined effects of angiogenic factors, migratory cues via the extracellular matrix and perfusion-related haemodynamic forces in a manner that may be described as both adaptive and dynamic. In this paper we present a mathematical model which simultaneously couples vessel growth with blood flow through the vessels—dynamic adaptive tumour-induced angiogenesis (DATIA). This new mathematical model presents a theoretical and computational investigation of the process and highlights a number of important new targets for therapeutic intervention. In contrast to earlier flow models, where the effects of perfusion (blood flow) were essentially evaluated a posteriori, i.e. after generating a hollow network, blood flow in the model described in this paper has a direct impact during capillary growth, with radial adaptations and network remodelling occurring as immediate consequences of primary anastomoses. Capillary network architectures resulting from the dynamically adaptive model are found to differ radically from those obtained using earlier models. The DATIA model is used to examine the effects of changing various physical and biological model parameters on the developing vascular architecture and the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs to the tumour. Subsequent simulations of chemotherapeutic treatments under different parameter regimes lead to the identification of a number of new therapeutic targets for tumour management.
- Capillary blood flow
- Mathematical modelling